Saturday, September 27, 2014

On the Record: Ari at Three

Two years ago I started a tradition of interviewing Riker on his birthday. Ari has just turned three and this is his first birthday interview!

By asking the children the same questions every year, we'll be able to see how their personalities and interests change (or stay the same).

What are you going to be when you grow up?
Want to be a digger.

What’s that going to be like?
Hm, dig up the road.

What are your favorite toys?
Chocolate cake (laughs).

What is your favorite food?
Chocolate cake.

Who are your best friends?

What makes you happy?
Nothing (laughs).

What makes you sad?
No Mummy or Daddy or Riker or Grammy or Grandpa. And it makes me sad when all of you are gone.

When you dream at night, what do you dream about?
(Laughs) Chocolate cake.

What do you like to do with Daddy?
Go to the playground.

What do you like to do with Mama?
Watch the big TV.

What’s your favorite color?

What’s your favorite book?

What does Daddy do during the day?
Have a chocolate cake. Watch the big TV.

What does Mama do during the day?
Have a chocolate cake.

What do you do during the day?
Watch the garbage truck.

What do you want to learn or do before you turn four?
Mummy, when I turn three I can ride my new bike. Well, not all the way to Gavin and Edwards. When I one hundred I will. One hundred is about this big (shows all fingers).


Riker was fixated on trains in both of his birthday interviews to date and in this particular moment in time for Ari, it's obviously chocolate cake. One of his favorite things to do with his new play kitchen it to mix up the pretend ingredients for a chocolate cake so plenty of talk about that in this interview!

I've shamelessly pilfered the interview idea and the questions from my friend Lauren over at Sparkling Adventures, You can read the birthday interviews of her four darling daughters here.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Aussie Visitor: Take Two

As I might have mentioned once or twice, my colleagues at ANUgreen were all pretty freakin awesome people. So I was delighted to hear that Adam was going to pay us a visit on his year long adventure around North and Central America!

Adam was only here for one full day but we managed to give him a good dose of McMillin hospitality with a giant family dinner and a brief tour of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

On the Ohio and Erie Canal visiting a lock which was once used to raise and lower boats between stretches of water at different levels.

I think it's terrific that our Sustainable Transport officer is able to have such a grand adventure in multi-modal global transport! I also think it's pretty cool that within two months, we've had two Aussie visitors!

Thanks for including us in your itinerary Adam and have safe and amazing travels!

Adam points out that I  forgot to mention that he had to make a McMillin House rite of passage: drinking your body weight in mead!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

First Day of School

I'm a month behind but it's time to share Riker's first days of school as a kindergartner at Chippewa Elementary.

 First day of school. Riker and his cousin Gavin wait for the bus together.

The boys pause momentarily for a photo before climbing up that big step!

Riker got on the bus easily enough that first morning but it was all downhill from there. He came home saying he didn't want to go back to school and he didn't want to ride the bus again. We urged him to keep going but for a week and a half he cried and displayed unprecedented anxiety about being away from me and going to the big school.

As you can imagine, this was agony for us having had extensive deliberations about which school to send him to and if it would be too much for him having just endured the huge transition of moving overseas. We nearly pulled him out after three days of sheer torture and emotional turmoil for all of us.

The school psychologist and school counselor were terrific and spent lots of time talking with me on the phone about our transition and all Riker has gone through with moving overseas, changing schools and not having our own home yet. They seemed to grasp the enormity of the upheaval in his life, perhaps even better than we can as we're busy coping, processing and planning ourselves.

Fortunately, his cousin Gavin has been so wonderful in taking his hand and walking him to class and even checking in on him during the day. How sweet is that?

Then, after about two weeks, something changed. He started to come home saying one or two positive things about his day. We started hearing names of other children he'd enjoyed playing with that day. And the "I don't want to go to school" remarks slowly dwindled. By the second weekend, Riker was asking if he could go to school on Saturday.

We're not entirely sure what changed his perceptions or if it was just a matter of gradual familiarity leading to comfort and confidence. Whatever it was, I'm immensely grateful that we've come out on the other side of a very challenging few weeks!

Monday, September 08, 2014

Aussie Guest

We've only been in Cleveland for about two and a half months and we've already had an Aussie visitor!

Chris (last seen in Tasmanian travels) arrived from Melbourne to spend a few days with us before heading up into Canada. Since we were the first stop on his North American agenda, we didn't plan any major tourist adventures so as to let him recover from jet lag, but we did keep ourselves busy with a few fun outings.

 Brian and Chris spent an afternoon kayaking down the Mohican River.

We went for a bike ride on the towpath trail and ended at Szalay's Sweet Corn Farm and Market. The boys loved these pots overflowing with mums.

 And they each got to take one home in their favorite colors.

Riker adores spending time with Chris and is always happy to have a willing player in his train games!

Thanks Chris for including us in your itinerary!